Cable operators -- led by Charter Communications -- clearly delivered
superior performance for Netflix movie streaming compared with telcos
over the last three and a half months, according to the video-rental
company's ranking of 16 U.S. Internet service providers released
Netflix, which surged past 20 million subscribers
to close out 2010, plans to publish the rankings monthly to shine a
spotlight on which ISPs are capable of handling its HD streams -- and
which are lagging.
The company may have an ulterior motive in
publishing the rankings. Netflix wants to ensure that it, or its content
delivery network providers, are not required to pay additional fees to
the last-mile ISPs in order to accommodate the significant influx of
traffic its service represents. That's currently the issue in the
standoff between Comcast and Level 3 Communications, one of Netflix's
"We think the cost sharing between Internet video
suppliers and ISPs should be that we have to haul the bits to the
various regional front-doors that the ISPs operate, and that they then
carry the bits the last mile to the consumer who has requested them,
with each side paying its own costs," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, along
with CFO David Wells, wrote in a Jan. 26 letter to shareholders.
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